Puerto Rico’s longer-term prob­lems

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

Re­gard­ing the Nov. 8 Econ­omy & Busi­ness ar­ti­cle “Pro­grams that fed Tex., Fla. not de­ployed in Puerto Rico”:

Points about fed­eral aid pro­grams not de­ployed in Puerto Rico seem valid but in­com­plete. Puerto Rico’s econ­omy grew more rapidly than those of the “Asian Tigers” af­ter World War II, but things went sys­tem­at­i­cally down­hill be­gin­ning in 1970. Now, 85 per­cent of food is im­ported and nearly 100 per­cent of power is from fos­sil fu­els — a fail­ure to uti­lize abun­dant po­ten­tial hy­dropower made pos­si­ble by the is­land’s moun­tain­ous ter­rain or high wind power po­ten­tial.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­view in the Econ­o­mist, “a thicket of bad in­cen­tives,” in­clud­ing wel­fare poli­cies and crip­pling re­stric­tions on foreign trade, con­trib­uted to current prob­lems. Fo­cus­ing only on one side of pol­icy is­sues can ob­scure bal­anced un­der­stand­ing.

Frank T. Man­heim, Fair­fax

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